Chris Worsey says the Lichfield and Burntwood Labour Party can take plenty of positives from their general election campaign.
The polls saw Labour return to second behind Michael Fabricant after being pushed into third in 2010, although they were unable to make a dent in the triumphant Tory’s majority as he romped home more than 18,000 votes ahead.
Mr Worsey’s defeat to the Conservatives was compounded by a local election slump which saw Labour lose a number of seats on Lichfield District Council.
But the parliamentary candidate believes there is still cause for optimism.
He said: “Obviously, the national picture this time was very tough.
“However, we managed to outperform the national swing and move up from third to second place, while holding off UKIP.
“I’ve no doubt that without our campaigning efforts we would have been in third with around 5,000 to 6,000 votes and may not have had any councillors returned at all.
“Nationally we need to craft a policy platform that appeals to both the aspirational middle class and hard working people on lower incomes.”
Mr Worsey’s campaign was backed by a large contingent of local Labour activists.
And he described standing in the area with their support as a “privilege”.
“I am so proud of the team we built and the campaign we ran in Lichfield and Burntwood,” he said. “Our activists poured theirr heart and soul into the campaign, pounding the streets for hours, delivering leaflets in the pouring rain and phoning residents in your own time.
“We had fun through our events with people like Jacqui Smith, Tom Watson and Sion Simon and we built a close-knit, efficient campaigning team.
“I’d particularly like to thank my amazing agent Sue Woodward for her magnificent advice, planning, motivation and friendship during this campaign.
“Being parliamentary candidate for Lichfield has been the biggest privilege of my life.
“From the thousands of people I have spoken to on the doorsteps, to the local community groups I have visited and the campaigning team that we have built, I have learned that Lichfield and Burntwood is a great place to live, full of wonderful, caring people.”